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Just Another Birthday

Summary: What do you do when your father sends you a fiancée from halfway around the world? And what happens when you can't understand a word she says? Do you throw her out of the house, or take her in? Well, if you really want to know… Read on.

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Chapter 1-Birthday Party

I breathed out heavily. "I will not lose my cool. I will be open, friendly, and courteous. I will apologize, get her something to eat, then call my mother and pray the line's open. I'm not ready to deal with this, but I'm going to anyways, because that's the way I am." After a moment, I swallowed nervously, nodded once, pulled open the closet door, and stepped out into the hall.

I should probably introduce myself now. My name is James Aquarius. I stand about five feet eight inches tall, have dark brown hair, and color changing eyes. Apparently, this has something to do with fluctuating pigment levels, but I never did know for sure. I almost always wear casual black clothes, since they're practical and stuff. Formal clothes bug me, and they're useless in fights. My skin is really pale; I'm inside a lot.

My parents are ambassadors, so they're always traveling. My mom usually works at the Capital, but dad's a foreign ambassador type of guy, so he's usually overseas. Today was my fifteenth birthday, and my dad had apparently felt I could use a special present.

I live in a medium-sized house in a fairly wealthy area. The Government gave the land as a grant to my family, so we don't have to pay for it or anything. They also take care of the bills, so I don't worry about that. It's really convenient. Neither of my parents are home very often, but mom's here at least once a month, so she drops off a big check so I can get food, games, etc. They both trust me to be responsible, mostly because I am.

However, right now you're probably tired of me rambling, and want to know what the heck is going on that was so weird that I was hiding in a closet. After all, I'm usually a pretty normal guy. Well, aside from the occasional kinesis outburst…

Anyways, like I said, today was my fifteenth birthday. It had started as just another birthday. I got up, stretched, took a shower, and put on clean clothes. Nothing whatsoever out of the ordinary, you know? Once I had done those morning rituals, I proceeded downstairs and got myself a big bowl of cereal. After breakfast, I went and got the mail. There were the usual greeting cards, invitations to formal dress parties that I would never accept, and random junk mail. There was also a letter from my father, to my interest.

"This should be interesting." I said, heading back inside. As soon as I had flopped down on a couch, I opened the letter from dad. It read like this:

To James, my dearest son. Assuming the postal workers have done their job, which I believe they have, this will be in your hands on your birthday. Knowing you, early in the morning. I deeply regret that I am not there in person, but a few things have come up that require me to stay. I wish I could come home, but I literally can't. Anyways, your present should be arriving shortly, assuming my calculations are correct and nothing went wrong. I know you'll love it. Father.

Naturally, I got very nervous. If dad was sending something that had to be shipped separately, it was definitely bad news. I hoped it wasn't anything living; I didn't want a pet.

Regardless, I grabbed the TV remote and turned on some cartoons. I put dad's letter out of my mind on purpose, instead choosing to zone out on colored pictures and not-quite-fitting voice acting. That's why I was a bit shocked when the doorbell rang.

"Coming!" I called. Wondering who it was, I went and opened the door. Standing on the porch was a girl about my age. She had waist length bronze-colored hair, and identically colored eyes. Her skin was almost as pale as mine, and she was dressed in very exotic clothing. "Um… Can I help you?" I asked.

Beaming, the girl launched forward and hugged me.

"Dami nosu kora suri noi ruwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaii!" she babbled. I had no idea what the heck she just said, and even if I could have I wouldn't have been paying attention. She was hugging me. A complete stranger was hugging me. "Amni soru erta yrui toro!" smiling, she let go of me. "Ardia Aquarius esu Kaka Helio nosu ubra diii pluso." She pointed at me. "James Aquarius." She pointed at herself. "Arianna Helio." The girl smiled brightly. "Sami tobu Kaka esu Ardia Aquarius takno, enyo Ardia Aquarius ruto 'Read letter, James, and be nice.'." the girl finished (With one heck of an accent, I could barely understand it!), holding out a letter. I blinked, but eventually managed to take the letter and read it. This letter, which was quite short, read as follows:

James, as this girl may or may not have told you, her name is Arianna Helio. She is your fiancée. She likes pasta a lot, so you should try making some for her to make her feel more at home, as she is also going to be living with you. Happy Birthday. Love, Dad.

I did the first thing that came to mind; I ran and hid in the closet. Admittedly, this was very uncool, but I couldn't think of anything else to do. I heard the girl shuffle in, and move into the living room. And that's what brought me to how I opened my story; telling myself not to lose my cool. It was a bit late, but better late then never.

But once I had calmed down, I returned to the main area. Arianna had seated herself on a couch, and looked like she was trying not to touch anything. Taking a deep breath, I walked over and sat down next to the girl.

"Um… Sorry for freaking like that." I muttered.

"Dasu eliin leta?" Arianna asked politely. I sighed.

"And you can't understand a thing I'm saying, can you?" I muttered. The girl blinked innocently. I shook my head rapidly, trying not to become enamored with her. Grumbling, I gestured for her to get up and follow me. She did so, unquestioningly.

"Ammi yurto minthi?" she inquired. I shrugged noncommittally and pointed at a stool in the kitchen. She sat down, and I quickly made her one of those three-minute cup ramen things. Feeling it rude to leave it in the cup, I instead dumped it into a bowl, and gave her both a fork and a spoon. I didn't know which one she preferred to use, after all. "Asu tayuli ornyo!" the girl exclaimed, delighted. She then did something I had never seen anyone do before, and used both utensils, at the same time. I was quite impressed, though I didn't show it.

"Well, that should keep her occupied for a bit…" I muttered. I quickly moved over to the phone, and speed-dialed my mother.

"Ambassador Aquarius speaking." My mother said a moment after she picked up the phone. "If this is another call about scheduling an appointment, we're full for the next six months."

"No, mother, it's me. James." I said, sighing.

"Oh, James!" My mother exclaimed, sounding completely different. "It's good to hear from you, especially so early. I had a bet going that you'd be zoning out on cartoons for the morning."

"Um, yeah…" I muttered. "Anyways, I need some advice, and I need it right now. Did Dad tell you what he got me?"

"Oh, that!" my mother said, laughing. "Yes, he told me all about it. Yrathia, where she's from, is a small but very rich country that's almost exactly halfway around the world from us. Your father's been stationed there, working out some trade deals."

"So… Who is she?" I asked, looking over my shoulder for a moment. The girl was still eating, seeming completely absorbed in the food. "And what am I going to do? I can't understand a word she says!"

"She is Princess Arianna Helio of Yrathia." My Mother said, sounding amused. I choked. She was royalty!? I paused for a moment. Well, if she was royalty, then technically so was I, but… "Just treat her as nice as you can. She may not understand what you're saying, but she's excellent at figuring out what you mean by your tone. We've also arranged for her to go to school with you. Your father taught her some basic math and such things so she wouldn't be there completely clueless."

"…This is all just a joke, right?" I asked.

"Nope. You should have guessed that something like this was going to happen. After all, the only decent girls around our house happen to be related to us, and you certainly couldn't marry one of them. Your father realized that Arianna's personality was compatible with yours, so he decided to work out an engagement." I groaned. "Oh, cheer up, James. I won't be home until evening, so you'll have to make do without me until then. Don't blow up the house!" she finished cheerfully. A moment later, she hung up.

"I'm going to kill my father." I said darkly, half meaning it. Feeling vaguely irritated, I hung up the phone and turned around to look at Arianna again. She had finished eating, and had set her utensils in the bowl. She was apparently waiting for some sort of instruction on what to do next. "When you're finished eating, you put the bowls and stuff in the dishwasher, like this." I said, showing her.

"Esu kortya nuro." The girl said, nodding. I figured she understood.

What now? I thought. There's got to be something I can do. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I wish Aril was here. At that moment, to my shock, there was a rapid pounding on the door. A very familiar pounding. Leaving Arianna where she was, I ran to the door and opened it. I felt a lot better as soon as I had completely confirmed who it was. Aril, one of my cousins, had a very hot temper. But she was cute when she wasn't mad. The girl had tied up her hair with one of those scrunchie things that girls use, but it wasn't really in a ponytail. Of course, her hair was very noticeable no matter what she did to it; it was bright yellow. But she dyed the bangs black. Her eyes, like her hair, were yellow. And as usual, she was dressed in slightly formal clothes.

"WHAT TOOK YOU!?" the girl yelled. "I WAS WAITING FOR SEVEN WHOLE SECONDS!" she smiled and gave me a cousinly hug. "How're you doing?" she asked, smiling cutely. I think I forgot to mention above that she was also prone to abrupt changes in mood for no reason whatsoever.

"Very badly." I said sheepishly. "My father sent me a fiancée from across the world, and I can't understand a word she says. Any ideas?"

"Hmm…" Aril said, letting go of me. She walked into the kitchen, where Arianna was still standing, looking confused. "So James' dad sent you to James from…"

"Yrathia." I supplied. Aril nodded.

"Yrathia." She repeated. She thought for a moment. "No wonder you said she's from across the world, she actually is!"

"Onsu loriya urthruali Kaka enmita loral Ardia Aquarius." Arianna said. She pointed to herself. "Arianna."

"She wants your name." I said quietly.

"Oh. I'm Aril." Aril said, nodding. "I'm James' cousin."

"Cuh-zin?" Arianna asked, blinking. "Amni wrao suta 'cuh-zin'?" she looked perplexed.

"James, go get that family tree you keep in the closet." Aril instructed. I did so, and rolled it out on the table. Aril pointed to our grandfather, an insanely rich business man. "That's Grandfather." She traced down to her mother, and then to my father. "Siblings. Children of our grandfather." Arianna nodded. Aril then traced down to us. "So James and me are cousins." Arianna blinked.

"Arianna esuwo James cuh-zins?" she asked. Aril shook her head.

"You and James are engaged." Aril said slowly. "James and I are cousins." Arianna blinked.

"Traiiiyo runi artna…" she muttered sadly, not seeming to understand. Aril put a hand on her shoulder.

"Hey, don't worry about it." Aril said, smiling. "You'll understand eventually." Arianna nodded sadly, and I rolled up the big tapestry and put it away. "James, hug her." Aril hissed when I came back into the room.

"What?" I asked, looking at my cousin.

"She's depressed because she doesn't understand the meaning of cousins, so you need to make her feel better. Now hug her and say something encouraging, or I will hurt you very badly. It's your job to make her feel at home, and I'm going to make sure that you do." Aril said. I got the distinct feeling she was being honest, and felt unexpectedly nervous. I gave Arianna a quick hug.

"We'll find a way to help you understand eventually." I said. "In the meantime, just do your best, and I'm sure everything will be fine." Arianna nodded, and hugged me back as tightly as she could.

"Eryu mitha, James." She said quietly. "Dammi."

"Good." Aril said, nodding. "Have you called your mother yet?" I nodded. "Better. What'd she say?"

"Well, mom said that she's the princess of a very rich country, she likes pasta, and she was taught some basic math and stuff."

"Okay, math, pasta, and prin— WHAT!?" Aril shrieked. "PRINCESS!?"

"Um, yeah." I said, somewhat embarrassed. "I still have absolutely no idea what the heck's going on, but…"

"YOU'RE ENGAGED TO A PRINCESS!?" the girl continued. Abruptly, her tone changed to one of delight. "This is awesome! I'm, like, royalty myself now! This is the best thing that's ever happened to me!" Did I mention earlier that she's prone to abrupt mood changes? I kind of forgot whether or not I did. Anyways, the girl continued in that way for several minutes, while Arianna looked at Aril like she thought the girl was crazy. I can't blame her, but Aril isn't really crazy. Flora, another of my cousins, is the crazy one. She'll ask you what happens if you crossbreed two animals, and for no reason whatsoever. People who don't know her think she's making a joke, but she's not. She actually wants to know. That cousin is also unusually fond of doing random things with no notice whatsoever.

And my friends say that their families are weird. Yeah. Right. They don't spend nearly enough time around me if they talk like that.

The day was hectic, but I won't bore you with the tedious details. I'll skip right to the next interesting part; when my mom came home.

It was around dinnertime, seven in the evening, and Aril was still here, to my relief. Without her, I don't know what I would have done. The girl was talking about some guy who was bugging her at school. Arianna listened with an expression of polite interest, and was probably trying her hardest to figure out what the heck Aril was talking about.

"So, anyways, he finally comes up to me in the hall, right?" Aril said. I nodded, wondering why she was asking. "He wasn't a very bright guy, so he just grabbed my arm and told me to meet him at the movie theatre at eight." I snickered, unable to help it. "Yeah." Aril said, smiling. "That's a horrible way to ask a girl out. So, naturally, I completely stood him up. And so the next day, he's all mad when he sees me in the hall—" Abruptly, the doorbell rang.

"I'll get it." I said, standing up. I quickly hurried over to the door, opened it, and was hugged by my mother.

"Hello, James." She said, smiling. "Have a good day?"

"Actually, it's been crazy, but…" I said, trailing off. "Nothing I can't handle." My mother laughed, and followed me back into the living room.

"Hi, Auntie." Aril said brightly.

"Hello, dear." My mother said, giving Aril a quick hug. Arianna blinked.

"Lithriiia ErArdia Aquarius?" she asked. "Ardia Aquarius tuthria wrinto krelniir."

"Yes, dear." My mother said absentmindedly. "We're having noodles." I rolled my eyes.

"I don't think that's what she was talking about, mom." I said. Aril hid a snicker.

"Mmm." Mom said, moving over to the stove. She began making dinner, while I just sat in my seat, looking and being exhausted. My entire day had been spent trying to deal with a girl who I didn't understand and who didn't understand me.

"James, asu kolo mithan?" Arianna asked, sounding worried.

"I'm fine. Just tired." I replied, smiling at her. The girl slowly nodded, but she still looked concerned. I felt vaguely bad about it, for some reason, but ignored those feelings. After all, I couldn't exactly afford to get caught up with somebody I quite literally couldn't understand.

"Ahno…" the girl replied. At that moment, my mother set a large plate of pasta in front of her, and Arianna's expression quickly brightened. "Dasu anko." The girl said, bowing slightly towards my mother.

"What a simple mind." Aril said, hiding a laugh. I glared at her. "What?"

"You could at least try to act decent." I said, sighing. "The fact that she doesn't understand you is irrelevant."

"Oh, and you're any better?"

"…Shut up."

Aril laughed, and my mother put pasta in front of both of us, then finally got her own plate. After a moment, smiling mischievously, my mother held up her glass. Sure, it was a tumbler and not a wine glass, but both Aril and I knew that she wanted a toast. I had a very funny feeling that I knew what she was going to say. After several moments, Arianna imitated our movements.

"Hmm…" my mother said. "A toast to Arianna, the newest addition to our humble family." We clinked our glasses together. However, misjudging the strength needed, Arianna hit mine hard enough to actually shatter it.

"Dakki!" the girl exclaimed, looking and sounding horrified. "O-orosa nura wretya f-frathiin, James!"

"Oh, don't worry about it." My mother said, reaching over to gently pat Arianna on the head. "You had absolutely no idea what we were doing, so of course you might do something wrong. Don't let it get to you, okay? It's just a glass and a bit of juice, after all, nothing that can't easily be replaced."

"Dakki…" the girl whispered, still looking highly embarrassed. A moment later, Aril stepped on my foot and glared at me. I got the message, and quickly moved over to Arianna and gave her a hug. "Esuro, James."

"You're welcome." I said quietly. Aril nodded, satisfied, and I soon returned to my seat. The rest of dinner, being the part that hadn't been ruined by the juice, was quite tasty. It was also incredibly boring.

About an hour after dinner, Aril, Arianna, and I were all in the Family Room, playing a multiplayer fighting game. Arianna was actually quite good, once she'd learned how to play. But I noticed that she did not ever attack my character, even though we had eventually gotten the point across that it didn't really matter. I let her win. She seemed almost disappointed when the screen showed that her player had won; I think she wanted me to win. Mom came into the room a moment later.

"Arianna, dear." She said. Arianna turned to look at her. My mom beckoned with a finger, and the girl got up and went over to her. I began to get up, but Aril tugged me back down.

"Your mom's just getting her some good nightclothes." Aril said darkly. "It's a girl thing. You have no business being present." My face turned bright red, and Aril started laughing. "You should see the look on your face! You're as red as a beet!"

"…Okay, you're going down!" I said, turning back to the game. Aril snickered, and picked out her favorite. To her surprise, however, I picked an entirely different character to play as, instead of using the one I had been.

"You're using Gwydion? But he's weak!" Aril protested. My character's stats were all at the bottom, and his special techniques were nothing powerful. I smiled, and the game started. "Heh… Well, you asked for it."

"Nope. It's just that looks are deceiving." I said. My fingers rapidly tapped the buttons on the controller as I inputted the instructions for the most complicated move in the game. As Aril's character reached mine, Gwydion turned into a massive dragon.

"WHAT THE—" Aril began.

"Impressive, isn't it?" I said, smiling. We continued fighting, and I basically slaughtered her. It was very funny, really, when Aril realized she had no chance.

After about five minutes…

"I… Still… Can't believe you can do that…" Aril said, somehow still in a state of shock. I smiled knowingly.

"Well, underestimating your opponent can be a fatal error." I said. Aril whacked me on the head and stormed out of the room. I knew she wasn't really mad; she was just acting like she was. After another ten minutes or so, Arianna came back into the room. She had changed into some modest fairly-well-fitting pajamas. She also looked very shy, as if she was nervous about me seeing her. She was also extremely cute, so much so that I had to resist the urge to stare.

"Ru… Amnu iitra yenyo?" the girl asked quietly. I smiled at her and patted the cushion next to me. Arianna quickly came over and sat down, still looking nervous. "Esuro." She said a moment later.

I was slowly becoming used to her presence. Throughout the day, I had noted that she was following me everywhere except to the bathroom. She obviously felt a lot safer with me around. And besides, she was across the world from her home, in a place where nobody seemed to know her language. It made sense she wanted somebody there to protect her. She was, after all, human. Just like me and everybody else.

"You look cute." I said, smiling at the girl. She smiled, getting a fairly good idea of what I meant by my tone.

"Esuro. …Kasi… Kasi runil mashiir elmin areos liburid." The girl said, tilting her head to the side. "Euto… hikalro wramthiar nu wraklin iir orshi, James?" she asked.

"I have absolutely no idea what the heck you just said, but I'll agree with you." I said, smiling. Arianna giggled and scooted a bit closer to me. Somehow, some way, she had managed to worm her way into my heart and curl up there, intending to stay. As a result, I found that I was rather starting to like her. Once I got over the fact that I understood almost nothing she said, names being universal, she was rather nice to be around.

And that, of course, is when a weird day suddenly got weirder.

"James…" a voice called softly. I paused and looked around. Arianna looked at me curiously. "James, help me! I can't move!" I blinked, then stood up and pulled up the cushion. A small soft-blue-colored fairy-like being zoomed up and landed on my shoulder. "Whew! I thought I was going to die! You're heavy!" the being said. It oriented on Arianna. "Who's she?"

"Arc, I'd like you to meet Arianna. She's my fiancée." I said.

"She is?" Arc asked, sounding disappointed. She flew up to Arianna's face, and the girl blinked, fascinated.

"Asuuno ranki elmina ruginor wrthin faireee?" Arianna asked, holding out a finger. Arc landed on it and scrutinized the girl.

"Hmm… Bright, honest eyes… Nice hair… Squeaky clean… Great body… Friendly…" Arc said. "I guess she passes." Arc whirled up around me and settled on my right shoulder again. "I guess she's okay…" I laughed.

"Don't expect Arianna to understand anything you say." I told the fairy. "She doesn't speak Common." Arc nodded, glowed brightly for a moment, then settled down to a soft glow that lightly illuminated the room.

"Okay." Arc said. She thought for several minutes, then spoke up again. "So, does Arifanna have any idea of what you can do?"

"One, her name's Arianna, not Arifanna, and two, no." I said. "She doesn't understand a word I say." Arianna blinked, and tugged on my sleeve. I looked at her, and she held up a small box, looking very nervous. I sat down, took the box, and looked at it.

"Happie Birthdaie." Arianna said, with one heck of an accent.

"…Thanks." I said, looking at her. Arc chose that moment to politely wink out of sight, heading back to wherever it was she spent time when she wasn't with me.

"Ernu." Arianna replied. She pecked me on the cheek, lightly, and headed upstairs. Slowly, I put a hand to my face and rubbed it.

"Oh…" I said softly.

Bedtime approached, so I quickly brushed my teeth, changed into my pajamas, and went to bed. I had almost fallen asleep when somebody knocked on my door.

"Come in!" I called blearily. The door cracked open, and my mother stuck her head in.

"James, I believe Arianna wants to know if she can spend the night in your room." My mom said. I sat up and stared at her.

"What?"

"I believe Arianna wants to know if she can spend the night in your room." My mother repeated. "It is her first night here, after all, and she feels a lot safer when she's around you."

"Oh… All right." I said. My mother opened the door a bit more, and Arianna crept into the room.

"Oh, and Aril was very insistent that I tell you that if you try anything even slightly perverted, you will be hurt very badly." My mom mother said cheerfully. She left. After a few moments, Arianna set her pillow on the floor, lay down, and pulled her blanket over her body. I watched her for a few moments, having good night vision, then sighed.

"Arianna, you can sleep in the bed if you want." I said. "I'll take the floor."

"Amii?" Arianna asked. I sighed heavily, got out of bed, and physically lifted her onto the bed. I then gave Arianna her pillow and extra blanket, then lay down on the floor myself. "Asu kera re brri?" she asked, looking at me. I pat her on the head.

"I'll be fine." I said. The girl slowly nodded, and drifted off to sleep.

I was cold that night, but it was far from uncomfortable. More like pleasantly cool, really.

That day, the one that changed my life, marked the beginning of a crazy series of events. But, as I reflected on it in later years, it was just another birthday.

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Note: This is NOT the end of the story. Oh, no, I have a lot more planned for this story. BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

Oh, and review.

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TRANSLATION (By Sentence):

Note that these are not exact translations, but close to the original meaning.

Dami nosu kora suri noi ruwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaii! (Expression of joy) You're even handsomer then I thought you would be!

Amni soru erta yrui toro! Now I'm finally here!

Ardia Aquarius esu Kaka Helio nosu ubra diii pluso. Ambassador Aquarius and King Helio thought it would be best for me to come here instead of staying home.

Sami tobu Kaka esu Ardia Aquarius takno, enyo Ardia Aquarius ruto 'Read letter, James, and be nice.'. King Helio and Ambassador Aquarius decided to engage us, and Ambassador Aquarius told me to give you this letter and say 'Read letter, James, and be nice'.

Dasu eliin leta? Are you feeling okay?

Ammi yurto minthi? Time for lunch?

Asu tayuli ornyo! This is delicious!

Esu kortya nuro. Put the plates here after eating. Right.

Onsu loriya urthruali Kaka enmita loral Ardia Aquarius. King Helio and Ambassador Aquarius engage us, and it's a pleasure to meet you.

Amni wrao suta 'cuh-zin'? What the heck is a "cousin"?

Arianna esuwo James cuh-zins? Are James and I cousins?

Traiiiyo runi artna… I don't understand…

Eryu mitha, James. Dammi. I needed that, James. Thank you.

Lithriiia ErArdia Aquarius? Ardia Aquarius tuthria wrinto krelniir. You're Mrs. Ambassador Aquarius? Ambassador Aquarius talked a lot about you. (As in 'Has told me many good things')

James, asu kolo mithan? James, are you okay?

Ahno… If you say so…

Dasu anko. Thank you for the meal.

Dakki! O-orosa nura wretya f-frathiin, James! I'm sorry! Please forgive me, I didn't know it would break, James!

Dakki… I'm sorry…

Esuro, James. Thank you, James.

Esuro. …Kasi… Kasi runil mashiir elmin areos liburid. Euto… hikalro wramthiar nu wraklin iir orshi, James? Thanks. This… This is something I brought from home. Father… Um, anyways, you really think it looks nice on me, James?

Asuuno ranki elmina ruginor wrthin faireee? You've actually been visited by a fairy?

Amii? Huh?

Asu kera re brri? Why are you lying on the floor?